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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Oct 19, 2010 10:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead Weren't Splenda

Cool rant. I wish I had had a mom who woke me up with Pigpen. I totally buy your view. I would also toss into the mix that the Dead and us folks of a certain age were a product of the musical time too. That folkie/C&W/R&R sensibility. I've often thought that's why I don't like as much the harder-edged material from the late 70s and into the 80s-think Lazy Lightning/Sailor/Picasso Moons. And why Lazy River Road, Standing on the Moon, and Days Between felt like a 'return to form'. And why I can't connect with Phish - their sensibility reflects a different time. BTW - I can't even get the space to listen to all the Dead shows I would like to.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 19, 2010 11:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead Weren't Splenda

I'm OK with Lazy Lightning/Sailor, though I think of them, actually, as softer-edged (in a mid-to-late 70s way) rather than hard-edged. (I think of Picasso Moon as little as possible.) I wouldn't call them genius in action, but they also don't seem like cases of trying too hard while floundering, which seemed to be the case later, once Hunter's muse took a vacation, with Barlow's tagging along for the duration.

Yeah, I do think later there was a return to form (also with Black Muddy River) ... or a return of the muse. Or perhaps a recognition that it's OK to be who you are and not TRY to be "of the times" (which I think was the case with, say, Hell in a Bucket.) Being "of the times" isn't something you can try to be, any more than a band can try to be "like the Dead." (Unless it's a tribute band, which is a whole other deal.)

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Poster: BataviaSparky Date: Oct 20, 2010 10:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead Weren't Splenda-why rip on Picasso?

why rip on Picasso? I always thought the song gave Jerry a chance to show off some hot licks! He shreads most of the versions I've heard. Yeah, its not a tune that can really be improvised with or stretched out, but it was never really a clunker. IMO.
Also, Bobby belts out the vocal, and I like that part.

"I GUESS IT DOESN'T MATTER!"

Hell yeah!

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Poster: fenario80 Date: Oct 20, 2010 10:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead Weren't Splenda

Boy, I may be starting trouble here, but when I think of the boys trying to be "of the times" I think of Shakedown Street - and then Workingman's Dead.

I think of Hell In A Bucket as more of a goof - high rock'n'roll comedy - and as much as many of us (including me) may love the funky thing that Shakedown became live, it's impossible to deny that the single was a pander to late-70's disco-dominated radio (The Kinks "Superman" was released the same year, or maybe a year later; different band, same concept).

Workingman's Dead and American Beauty did not appear out of a vacuum, and while it may be apparent that the folksy/ acoustic route was a completely natural progression for the GD, given everybody's musical backgrounds, it's also exactly what was happening in pop in 1970. They weren't exactly bucking musical trends.

OK let me have it.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 20, 2010 6:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead Weren't Splenda

Oh, definitely. But I'd actually distinguish between being "of the times" in a natural way because it fits who you are (generationally, inclination-wise, etc) -- e.g., WD was influenced by the times but also very much part-and-parcel -- and TRYING to be "of the times" in a catching-up, trying-too-hard, not-really-fitting kind of way.

I totally agree on Shakedown, as I've said here before! It quick evolved into something terrific and very Dead-ish, but yeah, if you want the most egregious and obvious example of running misguidedly after a misunderstood version of the times, that's certainly it. But I guess the muse was still so alive at that time that it tamed Disco Dead in the cradle and whipped it into proper shape :-)

Btw I agree Hell in the Bucket was kind of a goof, lyrics-wise, but musically speaking, it just sounds so ... early 80s pop-rock to me. Blandly rockin' a la the Pretenders or something. Maybe that's just me. I don't HATE it, but it's kind of C-grade, and I often skip it, along with a few others of that era.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 20, 2010 11:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead Weren't Splenda

You're absolutely right, F80; I've said this a few times...EG, byrds et al. were direct impact on the DEAD to see that a "return to their roots" was now more acceptable...sounds like a sell out, but I think they were just willing to give and take, and say "hey, look what so and so's doing...we can do it that too". Phil talks about how current songs would influence him, at least early on. I think there's plenty of what they did that was unique, but I won't for a minute defend that it was PRIMARY. They blew with the times like everyone. Complete counter culture is often just pure nonsense.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 20, 2010 6:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead Weren't Splenda

I agree; it's just a question of what one *likes*. If we like what's happening in pop culture, we don't complain about anyone selling out out to pop culture. Disco sucked, basically. But the Dead weren't selling out to disco any more than they had "sold out" to folk, blues etc.